Mentorship program keeps Soldiers safe
July 20, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas- Motorcyclists from the 41st Fires Brigade participated in a brigade motorcycle ride to Marble Falls, Texas, as a part of its mentorship program, July 16.
The motorcycle mentorship program was put in place to promote safe and responsible riding. Conducted quarterly, the brigade rides are designed to increase morale, esprit de corps, and to continually develop the skills of motorcycle riders for both, the new and experienced.
"Being actively involved with the riders in the brigade is essential," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Baker, brigade senior motorcycle mentor. "The more often we train with the Soldiers, the more likely they are to think about the things they have learned every time they get on their bikes."
The brigade's MMP has been in place since February 2007, with the brigade requiring all Soldiers who currently own a motorcycle or have a motorcycle endorsement on their license to enroll. The brigade has only had three serious motorcycles incidents since the start of the program and only one of those incidents occurring since the brigade's redeployment in August 2009.
Staff Sgt. Jeffery Gorecki, the senior motorcycle mentor for 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, helped with the instructions and training for this ride.
"It's great to see the development in our Soldiers' skills from ride to ride," said Gorecki. "We haven't had a serious incident in so long so we must be doing something right. This program is working."
After conducting motorcycle inspections and a safety briefing, the riders left Fort Hood en route to Marble Falls for lunch and a break off of the motorcycles. They then headed out to a remote stretch of highway with more than enough curves for more training.
"A lot of accidents involving motorcycles occur while cornering," said Baker. "It's important to practice the everyday hazards of the road to learn not only the capabilities of your motorcycle but also your own personal limitations."
The group stopped at a small picnic area for another break and some more additional training.
"We talked about little things we can all do to make riding our motorcycles as safe as possible like making yourself as visible as possible," said Baker.
After the training, the Soldiers were asked what they would like to see come out of the mentorship program. Pfc. Jonathan Sharpless said he would like to see more frequent brigade rides take place.
"These rides not only make you a better rider, but they also build camaraderie throughout the brigade between motorcyclists," said Sharpless.
Another suggestion was to hold separate events for those soldiers riding sports bikes and those riding cruisers.
"There is a definite difference in the way sports bikes and cruisers handle," said Sharpless. "If we had separate rides, we would have more time to focus on the skills we need for our individual type of motorcycles."
After a quick fuel stop, the Soldiers returned to Fort Hood, logging almost 140 miles during the trip. After an after action review was conducted, the Soldiers were released back to their units.
The 41st Fires Bde. will continue to train its riders properly to ensure the motorcyclists are safe as well as other commuters on the roads and highways.